‘I thought, I’m going to be struggling here’: Pippa Funnell reflects on ‘disappointing’ Badminton dressage performance

  • Eventing legend Pippa Funnell had a less than ideal start to her latest five-star campaign when her Mars Badminton Horse Trials dressage test didn’t go to plan this morning (9 May).

    Riding the 17-year-old Majas Hope, who she co-owns with Marek Sebestak, the rider posted a score of 40.8, which currently puts them at the bottom of the leaderboard.

    “It’s very disappointing, but there was so much going on yesterday with the grassroots championships and there were a lot of people here – he’s been wound ever since he got here,” explained Pippa. “At the end of the day, he’s an older horse who’s been here three times, to Burghley three times, plus Kentucky once, and I think he just knows what’s coming.

    “He’s done a lot of prize givings now too,” said Pippa, referring to the fact that this horse has had seven top-16 five-star placings during his career.

    The first 12 movements of Pippa’s Badminton Horse Trials dressage test were awarded marks ranging mostly between 6.5 and 7.5, but the scores began to plummet once Majas Hope, who has scored consistently in the mid- to high-20s at five-star level in the past, embarked on his walk work and tension crept in.

    “He did some good work and seemed very settled this morning outside the main arena, but as soon as I went in, I thought, ‘I’m going to be struggling here’.

    “He wasn’t naughty but he has a little bit of kissing spines and once he inverts in his body, you can’t get him to work over his back, which is how I lost him today. It’s not my normal standard of test, but he’s an older boy who knows his job and they are characters and not machines.”

    Pippa said she is unsure of what the rest of this week holds for her.

    “You can’t just go out and have a ‘nice’ ride around here across country – if you go you’re going to go, you have to ride competitively,” she explained. “Majas Hope is 17 now and in my heart of hearts, I don’t really want to run him to finish 20th or 25th – he doesn’t need that experience, I don’t need that experience.

    “It’s a case of me deciding and weighing up the odds. The difficult thing is because of his draw, we’re not going to know how the cross-country is riding on the ground and the effect it will have. I think I’m going to be pretty open-minded.”

    How to watch Badminton Horse Trials

    If you are interested in watching the live action from Badminton Horse Trials from the comfort of your home, wherever you are in the world, you will need to subscribe to Badminton TV. To sign up, visit watch.badminton-horse.tv – click the “Sign Up” link in the top right corner of your screen, then follow the instructions. An annual subscription to Badminton TV costs £19.99 via the website and gives you 365 days of access to all of the content in the Badminton TV library, the ability to watch the action live, and the option to replay all of this year’s action later. Find out more…

    Enjoy the best of Badminton with Horse & Hound

    To ensure you keep up to date with all the breaking news, behind the scenes insight, and the best of the action throughout Badminton Horse Trials with no limits on how much you can read, subscribe to the Horse & Hound website from as little as £1 a week. Sign up now. And don’t miss our bumper 22-page magazine report on Badminton, including in-depth analysis and exclusive comments from top names, in the issue of Horse & Hound dated 16 May.

    You may also be interested in…

    You may like...